When you realise it's time to change your life
Am I an alcoholic?

When you just know something has to change

I remember the day, I had been drinking red wine the night before (probably a bottle or more) as I did every single night. It was mid-morning and my head was full of the usual fuzzy feeling from having too much alcohol, then I noticed my hands, they were shaking uncontrollably.

I had never had the shakes before! Isn’t this what alcoholics get? I’m not one of those! I just enjoy a glass (or six) of red wine each night.

This was the point I realised something had to change in my life, I knew alcohol had a grip on me and I couldn’t imagine a life without it.

I also started to realise that I didn’t get pleasure from it any longer, I think the only pleasure was when I actually opened the bottle, it was like a sense of relief. After that it was just a mission to drink as many glasses as I could. This usually ended in a drunken blur and me forgetting half of the evening.

After more than twenty years of heavy drinking, the shaking hands was the moment that the realisation hit me and I knew it was time to change.

I started to carry out research online, at first I questioned whether I was an alcoholic, I am still unsure about this ‘label’ (isn’t almost everyone who drinks alcohol an alcoholic to some degree?), I prefer to think of myself as an ‘enthusiastic drinker’.

Then I started to discover sober blogs, books and groups on Facebook. When I saw how far other people had come it really inspired me, I wanted to be that person celebrating 50 or 100 days sober, but I had no idea where to start, the thought of even one night without red wine filled me with absolute dread.

The big change came when I read This Naked Mind by Annie Grace, by the time I had finished the book I felt my mindset had shifted from ‘can’t have’ alcohol to ‘don’t want’ it any longer and I actually felt ready to quit for good. Could I really do this?

Day 1 had a few false starts, but I got there and once I made it through a few days of not drinking, then weeks and then months I knew I would never go back to alcohol – ever!

Life has never been better since I stopped and it really is the best change I have ever made, I wish I had done it years ago but I am also grateful that I realised I had a problem and took positive action to put things right.

It can seem incredibly daunting when you have realised something needs to change in your life and you feel trapped by your addiction, but you need to know that you can break free and it isn’t as hard as you think.

Yes, the first few days can be tough, but it gets easier and easier and once you start to see and feel the amazing changes that happen inside and outside of your body and mind you will know you have done something really incredible for yourself.

There is so much support around, just check out the Be Sober private Facebook group as evidence. You will find people ready to support you in a caring and non-judgemental environment and because most sober groups are private you can speak in total confidence, something you might not feel confident doing in the real world.

If you have realised something has to change, go ahead, take the step right now and make the change. You won’t regret it and will end up with a better life and in a much happier place.

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